Saturday, October 9, 2021

Two Pennsylvania Amusement Parks - Dorney and Delgrosso's

Today's post is on two Pennsylvania parks - at opposite ends of the state - that I was able to visit for the first time this year. First up is Dorney Park in Allentown near Philadelphia. Dorney Park is one of the oldest amusement parks in America, with beginnings in 1884. It was fatefully purchased by Cedar Fair in 1992, who removed the majority of the park's historic attractions, including all of its darkrides. Today, Cedar Fair shows interest in honoring their parks’ histories, but it’s honestly too late for Dorney. That's not to say it isn't still a pleasant park to visit, though!
The ride seen below is the main reason I wanted to visit Dorney Park. Debuting at Cedar Point in 1983, Demon Drop was among the first drop towers ever opened.  Today, it's the last of its kind in America. Cars are lifted up an elevator, moved forward, and dropped down a track, which puts the cars (and as a result, the riders) on their backs when they level out. A funky mechanism then moves the cars back to the station level.
As you can see, Cedar Fair relocated the 26-year-old Demon Drop to Dorney Park in spite of the fact that the park already has a more modern drop tower. The other is driven by compressed air, however, so the experiences are completely different. Demon Drop is a pretty rough ride, but I wanted to make sure I got to experience one of its kind.
Thunder Creek Mountain is a really weird log flume - just look at that lift hill! The drop has a similar, gradual slope.
Here you can see some of the park's roller coasters: the giant Steel Force hypercoaster, the classic 1924 Thunderhawk, and Possessed, relocated from Geauga Lake.
Dorney Park has a long history with carousels, but their current ride came from Cedar Point in 1995. At Cedar Point, it was known as the Frontier Carousel and was one of four classic carousels in the park, so they were able to give it up.
The gift shop has lots of park historical pictures. I really appreciate this touch. Sadly the Whacky Shack is long gone.
That's it for Dorney Park. It was kind of a one-and-done for me.
Moving to Western Pennsylvania, I got the chance to visit Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in Altoona (Lakemont Park is just a few minutes down the road). Opened in 1909, Delgrosso’s has had a humble existence. Originally known as Bland’s Park, it was bought by the Delgrosso family - who run a well-known local tomato sauce company - in the 1940s, but they did not rename the park until 2000. Despite its former name, Delgrosso’s Park has some of the best amusement park food in the country.
I made sure to ride this Casino ride, as according to the park website, it came from Kings Island. I'm not sure if that's true, though, as when it was at Kings Island, it didn't have the decorative signage and perimeter lighting.
There are a bunch of classic carnival rides at Delgrosso's, including a Super Round-Up.
It's nice to see one of these original Tilt-A-Whirl signs.
The park is also home to a classic Herschell-Spillman carousel from 1924.
It's a wonderfully quaint machine with a great band organ.
The band organ is seen in the background of the below photo. The carousel is actually the highlight ride at Delgrosso's. Anyway, now that I've been here, I have only one park in Pennsylvania left to visit.

Next second Sunday and next post - November 13th!